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I've just noticed something odd when searching on Bing: it asks me to enter a captcha code before I can click through to my chosen search result. 

Bing is currently looking to wrench some search market share from Google, but it seems this is a guaranteed method of deterring users... 

It seems to be something that happens on the local listings on the results page; it doesn't ask for a captcha when I click on paid results or the general listings. 

In the example shown in the screenshot above, the result I clicked on leads to the following screen: 

Bing explains that this step is meant to prevent automated searches, and has been necessary since my computer 'has done a lot of searching lately'. 

I have used Bing lately, having written this post on user reactions to Bing last week, but not excessively. Worse still, it isn't the easiest captcha ever, and I can see a few people having problems getting it right. 

Quite simply, this is absolute madness, what better way to put users off a search engine than making them jump through hoops to actually access their results?

Also, I expect the local businesses listed wouldn't be too happy that, just as a user clicks through with the intention of contacting them, an extra obstacle is placed in their path. 

Here's a typical user reaction to this use of captcha code, not using Bing again

(video from whatusersdo)

I can't think of a single good reason for this use of captcha codes, anyone else have any ideas?  

Graham Charlton

Published 18 March, 2010 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

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Matt

Tech error their end that will be fixed as soon as someone sees it is occuring?

over 6 years ago

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Luke

Crazy.


Do they determine ranking according to CTR? That's a reason I can thinking of for doing this - to prevent site owners volume-clicking their results to improve rank.

Still crazy though.

Ah - as I go to post this I see there's a captcha!

over 6 years ago

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Ben Sales

Google do this as well. Usually when the IP has been flagged up for some reason (i.e. making too many searches in a row).

Google are a bit more expiclt as the reason for showing the capture, but I reckon it's the same reason for bing.

over 6 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Hi Luke, sorry about the captcha, but we do have one for good reason!

over 6 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Hi Ben, 

I have used Bing as part of research for a post, but probably made something like 20-30 searches in an hour. I do far more than that on Google on a daily basis. 

Also, wonder why this only applies to local listings? 

over 6 years ago

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Ben Sales

For context, here is someone that was getting captcha's on google requests:

http://www.link-assistant.com/seo-talk/captcha-s-on-every-google-search-t1582.html

over 6 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Thanks Ben. Clearly excessive use is the common factor, but I haven't used Bing that much at all, so perhaps they are being a bit too strict? 

over 6 years ago

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Mathieu

Wow this is lame. I know my company relies on scripts to search google as a way to ensure our site is running and our internet is. If it required captchas it would be useless. 

Whatever, Google's 10 x better than Bing will ever be.

over 6 years ago

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Charles Knight

http://thenextweb.com/search/2010/03/18/reports-captchas-search-results

Attribution given and link to your post.  OK?

Ah! You have a captcha below!!

over 6 years ago

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Greg Power

I too have had CAPTCHAs on Google queries Graham; I don't think it's to do with volume it's more the nature of the query. Anything that looks automated (for example, I use &tbs=qdr:d a lot to find content indexed in the last 24 hours - great for voucher codes and betting) tends to trigger it.

over 6 years ago

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sean

My expenerence is, Bing overal better than google. General search, I can't see a difference, I doubt most people will. In areas like, image, video, products, bing is better. If you use map, Bing map is far better than googles.

over 6 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Hi Greg, 

I'm still puzzled, as I just didn't use it that much, and it only comes up on local listings.

over 6 years ago

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Paul..

As others have said, Google will occasionally do the same thing.  I've only noticed it there when using Tor and testing apps with IPs in other countries (presumably having more than 'n' searches from one IP in a defined time range flags it up).

Agree that if this is just a standard feature it equals major fail though, but I'm sure they're not that mad.  Are they?

over 6 years ago

Nuttakorn Rattanachaisit

Nuttakorn Rattanachaisit, Consultant at Possible Worldwide

I have seen this kind of stuff in Google as well, it happens when Google found malicious in that PC or heavily use from that particular IP address and it may treat as spam. It gone when you disconnect router and restart the windows again. 

over 6 years ago

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Stefan Weitz

Hi there - Stefan from BIng here. Yes the above comments are right - CAPTCHAs are fired when we detect an excessive amount of queries coming in from a particular IP or subnet range. Even if you're not hitting Bing 100 times a minute (please do!), someone (or some other infected machine) in your local network might be. If you're in a corporation or behind a firewall that groups all your local IP addresses into a single public facing IP address, it can look like a single public IP is hitting Bing a ton and we then take steps to slow it down - CAPTCHA being one of them. In some cases, all engines get it wrong (like people in a corp who are really, really excited to use Bing and therefore sending tons of traffic to us) and we need to mod the thresholds. You can always hit us at @bing on Twitter and we'll take a look at what's happening. Thanks for giving us a try! Stefan Weitz Director, Bing

over 6 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Hi Stefan, 

Thanks for that. The reason I was puzzled by seeing the captcha is that my Bing use wasn't really what you would call excessive - an hour or two's searching at most, and from my laptop at home. 

over 6 years ago

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Helen

I came across this article as I had Bing do this to me today too! I have been using Google for about 7 years and never once had a captcha. What was I bing-ing? The word esquire as it is name of one of the pre-made themes on a website I am using - which I *thought* was about titles / names but I find out its a mens mag, I am female and wanted to check as the layout looked far from old fashioned 'royalty' or olde style landlords. I am going back to google and why do bing have a webslice and search for IE8 then? Is it not for using!

about 6 years ago

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منتديات

I too have had CAPTCHAs on Google queries Graham; I don't think it's to do with volume it's more the nature of the query. Anything that looks automated (for example, I use &tbs=qdr:d a lot to find content indexed in the last 24 hours - great for voucher codes and betting) tends to trigger it.

about 6 years ago

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scanmead

I had the same reaction as the guy in the video. Back to Google. Make it faster and smarter, not irritating.

almost 6 years ago

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End Captcha Illiteracy

How can anyone with a brain actually ADVOCATE site owners flaunting their illiterate inability to write or spell legibly with this fad of making captchas just for the fun of sadistically tormenting people by trying to make them guess what words they are trying to spell with those awful strings of pure nonsense?

Why do site owners want to deliberately sadistically torment site visitors and users with these illegible strings of pure nonsense captchas, just to make it hell for a person to post or download something or do anything on a site? Isn't it counterproductive for a site owner to try to drive people away from their site with this sadistic hell of tormenting people with captchas?

I have 20/20 vision, don't need glasses or contact lenses, and most captchas are total HELL for me to read & try to guess what word the idiots were trying to spell with their illegible illiterate nonsense. When I have a migraine and still have to do something online, this illiterate nonsense captcha fad that site owners think is so much fun to torment people with, often make the headache become so much more intense that I end up being unable to endure looking at the computer screen and end up having to just shut it down.

Migraines are bad enough with the way they make bright light hurt the eyes and increase the headache pain, migraines sometimes cause temporary blurred vision or other temporary visual changes and I wish every site owner that so sadistically gets their kicks tormenting users with their stupid illegible illiterate nonsense strings called captchas, would have to experience having a bad migraine and having to try to look at the computer screen and figure out what word they were trying to spell with their distorted stupid mess & feel every bit of the pain and agony intensification that straining to read their crap causes.

Migraines cause pain so bad that bright light hurts the eyes, a person can have nausea and vomiting and diarrhea with it, have a number of temporary changes in vision during the time the headache persists (and a migraine often persists for as long as 2 or 3 days before it lets up), and this stupid sadistic fad of tormenting people with captchas is just one more unnecessary thing that intensifies pain that already is so intense that if splitting your skull open with a brick would relieve the pain, you feel like you'd do it because it would hurt less than the migraine itself.

If you look at how people used to write, spell and use grammar during the first half of the 20th century, you will find that present day writing, spelling, and grammar is vastly inferior to what you see in books or texts written back then. While spell checkers make plenty of mistakes, mostly due to their limitations and inability to distinguish between forms of words such as "too, two, to" or "there, they're, their", they are still vastly superior to these strings of nonsense captcha garbage.

It's totally pointless for someone to make horrible freehand writing attempt messes, when MS Paint provides for creating graphic text that is neat and readable. If you can't write legibly, USE MS PAINT to type your nonsense captcha garbage so at least it will be readable. BETTER YET, LEARN HOW TO WRITE LEGIBLY AND SPELL PROPERLY.

Before I was 3 years old, I knew how to read and could print simple words, REAL WORDS, that were MORE LEGIBLY PRINTED THAN THIS ILLEGIBLE CAPTCHA NONSENSE that has become such an insane site owner fad! I knew that words weren't spelled with letters and numbers jumbled together, I already knew the correct usage of capital letters (which btw, is NOT to mix them up in the middle of a word!). Most halfway intelligent people at least master these basic skills by the time they are in first grade.

This fad of site owners tormenting site users with the hell of trying to guess what these illegible strings of nonsense are supposed to actually spell, IS INSANE. What if everybody decided they would no longer write legibly or spell words correctly and made everyone else guess what a string of illegible nonsense garbage mess of letters and numbers jumbled together with capital letters tossed in anywhere within the mess, was supposed to actually mean? Nobody would be able to understand a damn thing anybody else was writing if we all followed this idiotic captcha fad. IF enough people happen to decide this stupid fad of site owners tormenting people with illegible illiterate nonsense garbage captcha hell is cool and start doing it too, in lieu of writing legibly or spelling words at least well enough that a reasonably literate person can make a guess that's close to the word that it's meant to actually be, ALL THIS STUPID FAD CAN POSSIBLY EVER LEAD TO IS TOTAL CHAOS!

Shouldn't literacy and the ability to write legibly be encouraged instead of discouraged or replaced by illiterate illegible nonsense?

THE SOONER THIS IDIOTIC ILLITERATE ILLEGIBLE CAPTCAH NONSENSE FAD ENDS, THE BETTER!

But sadly I see you too, are idiotically following this fad of sadistically tormenting site users with stupid illiterate nonsense captchas. Its hell trying to guess what you're trying to actually spell with the first word in your mess, I finally got mad enough to just copy your idiotic garbage pathetic excuse for a word that was first of the two, its bad enough to torture people with ONE nonsense string, it's especially sadistic torturing them with trying to guess what your two nonsense messes are supposed to spell. Wouldn't it be better to learn how to spell words correctly & write legibly.

almost 6 years ago

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burr

Yeah, I just had this happen to me today since I switched to Bing as my primary search engine. Looks like it's back to Google.

almost 6 years ago

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Burr

...I mean, honestly, who would want to deal with this while simply trying to browse the internet? Goodbye, Bing. I'll be back if and when you get your sh*t together.

almost 6 years ago

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